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-   -   Ultimate guide to renting an apartment in Dubai (https://www.expatforum.com/expats/dubai-expat-forum-expats-living-dubai/89034-ultimate-guide-renting-apartment-dubai.html)

alabatusa 20th September 2012 09:21 PM


Originally Posted by egs (Post 902149)
I am definitely up for flat sharing... but rarely are photos put up on dubizzle, which seems slack.

I'm after a good place in the marina with cool people for a few weeks - get in touch if you know someone.


Would love to help a fellow aussie mate, but im in Abu Dhabi.
I personally quite enjoy sharing. but to each their own.

alabatusa 20th September 2012 09:29 PM


Originally Posted by Smithums (Post 902168)
Would prefer my own place to be honest, be better when friends come over to visit. Know a few people already but they all a bit older and married with kids. You renting on your own at the minute?

Yeah, that can be a thing if you want your friends over can be an issue. Lucky our place is huge and can accommodate lots of people. When my mates come over from Australia, they love hanging out with my flatmates so i guess its a good thing for me. Also my flatmates don't mind whoever crashes . Like i said before to each their own.

i originally thought and had the budget to rent on my own, but when i saw this place that i'm in now, i knew it was the place to live. 44th floor, views of all of Abu Dhabi and the sea, and all that at about half price of what i would have paid on a 1 br apartment.

we should catch up whenever i'm in Dubai. Haven't really met that people our age here.

egs 21st September 2012 02:13 AM

Hi Alabatusa, thanks for the info.

I will also be in AD and then over to Qatar to continue the work search. Send me your email if you want and we can catch up for a beer if you're around.


nisiroo 22nd September 2012 03:06 AM

Looking for a spacious studio or 1 bedroom close to metro approx. 4000/month -- starting new job & first time to dubai -- where should I be looking to find a place?

Roadworrier 22nd September 2012 09:55 PM

EXPAT'S PROGRESS: Finding a place in Dubai (Week 1)

This is long so it is multi-part. To some extent this is a diary of activities so I can keep track, but maybe the reader will find this useful as well.

My wife and I finally made it out here on 15 Sept on a nonstop from DC. First I had an initial screw up with my taking someone else's identical bag (luckily his number was on the bag and we swapped late at night before the other guy took his 2 am connecting flight to Afghanistan). We settled in nicely at our temporary digs at the Gloria Hotel (high floor, views of both Atlantis and Burj al-Arab from our one bedroom), and hit the Beach Walk late. Unfortunately, I discovered (a) On the Border had closed, and (b) the entire beach had disappeared behind a wooden fence almost the entire length of the Beach Walk. Looks like construction and beach privatization has gotten the best of the neighborhood, proving Dubai remains very much an unfinished place in more ways than one. At the very least, that largely crossed JBR off our list, not long after my wife had a change of heart and said she wanted to look at flats instead of only villas for us and our mutt.

After having to waste my first Sunday in town at a project meeting in Jeddah (my wife sunned and exercised in the hotel's facilities and slept), I finally began my commuting life (Dubai to Abu Dhabi) on Monday, finally having time on Tuesday to open the bank account in AD as directed by my employer. Interesting that 2 weeks ago, I showed up in a polo shirt and jeans at the same NBAD branch and they made it look almost impossible to open an account without a wad of attestations, business licenses, forms, etc. On Tuesday, I showed up a crisp dress shirt and tie, and they pulled me out of the take-a-number group, thinking I was making a deposit. When I said I was actually opening an account, they took me immediately, ahead of 3 Emiratis who were clearly there before me. I won't say they swarmed over me, but it is clear that dressing nicely and having the rez visa and an NOC/salary level with the company stamp from your boss (even if it came from the US) helps with getting customer service immensely. The same people who were somewhat snobby and annoyed 2 weeks ago were now trying to sell me a fancy NBAD One account. Having an actual deposit is also a major plus. All I remember now is making at least 20 signatures, as identical as I could make them. All so 4 days later I can get a debit Visa card and a chequebook (they promise it to me by Sunday the 23rd so will see about that).

My wife discovered what I have long known (which is that Dubai is a city of malls and the Marina is nearly impossible to navigate without circulating at least 3 times). She experienced the Metro for the first time (and became quite comfortable taking it). One night we finally settled in behind the Dubizzle screen. We responded to tons of ads for 2 BR flats in the Marina and on the Palm that were within our housing allowance, decided the Springs were most definitely not for us, and followed up on several leads and visits from my trips in July and August. Despite my indicating an October 1 move-in date, I got relatively scarce responses (3 out of 25), although I managed to get the attention of the BetterHomes people. Observations so far are below:

1) Arenco Villas near Media City. About 8 years old, well landscaped and maintained outside, but the peach stucco paint is fading and the 2nd floor 2 BR unit showed all of its 8 years (including missing cabinetry in the kitchen and poorly drilled holes for the coax cable entering the house from the outside). As bad a condition as anything I have visited in the Springs if not worse. Not worth AED 120k even if the location is fantastic and the atmosphere of the area is quiet and comfortable. I think the agent was almost embarassed to show this unit to us after she called me the day before.

2) PALM: Shoreline Apartments. Two agents called, gave me addresses without showing up, indicating the units were open. And so they were. We saw two 2 BR units (about 1500 SF) in buildings 20 and 12. Both were running about 130k. The unit in building 20 was nicely finished (except the weird shaped living room and dining room reminded me of the Springs pillboxes). View was decent. But what an awful location! Having to U-turn under the bridge and then drive halfway up the trunk to make another U-turn in order to leave the development is not my cup of tea, and having to walk 3 blocks to get to the crosswalk which leads to the beach or the gym in the buildings across the road is a turn-off. I could live in the Marina for less and deal with that. The unit in Building 12 had a great view of Donald Trump's hole in the ground and the monorail. Slightly better location relative to the commute (don't have to U-turn to get out of the Palm), and they left a lot of smelly furniture behind.

It becomes clear one needs to be on the right side of the Shoreline (buildings 1-10), and if you do decide on a unit on the left side, make sure your view is at least looking across to the right side, and stay away from building 20 as it has horrible access issues (in and out).

3) PALM: Marina Residences. Quite a contrast to the first Shoreline units we saw. The lissome BH agent (from E Europe) met us and we actually failed to be disappointed. One in building 6, 8th floor appeared to have never been lived in, with all new Bosch appliances, nice finishes, great closet space, nice room space and layout, and awesome covered terrace. View has partial water view, view of the DXB Marina towers, as well as the pool. I had heard about the problems over the summer with pools being emptied, chillers thretened to be turned off and gyms closed at this development, but all looked normal and nice when we were there. Building 3 had a similar unit (both were 1750 sf including covered terrace) which overlooked the fronds and had a view of the Atlantis as well as the monorail. A little nicer view, but also a little more lived in with fixtures removed. So at least one person had lived there. Nothing horrible though. We could live with either one, and the lissome agent has begun negotiating a lower price for us on the first unit with the owner (trying to get it under our price limit). If nothing in the Marina excites me more, this looks like a real possibility, although I do have some real questions re - the maintenance and facility issues over the summer which made Nakheel look very bad, to say the least. Hopefully the owner pays his fees which seems to be a common issue in the Palm apartment developments. Locationwise, the in-out is quite straightforward by Palm and Dubai standards. Of course there is no Shoreline beach access from the residences. Plus you have to drive everywhere, but that's no different from our house in Virginia. I have to give these a qualified thumbs up, with our eyes wide open to the issues which popped up earlier this year. So we have mixed feelings of both excitement and "is this what we really want?". I think the idea of telling folks back home that we live on the Palm is always seductive, but we need to make sure the reality is worth it. Plus, we need to figure out where to walk the dog.

MARINA NEXT: We have an appointment Sunday with another BH agent to see several Marina developments (mostly Emaar buildings), all of which are 2 BR's that are 130k and under (plus one 3 BR). Our first Marina viewing on Saturday was a bust, an absentee agent guiding us to Majara 2, which as it turned out was a ground-level podium unit facing the street, and the door was locked with no key at security. Nothing to see, and it looked like if we did see it this would have been a total waste of time either way. Tune in later.

buzz1for5 23rd September 2012 03:31 AM

Great Feedback. Thank you. Yeah, need to find apartment to share, in Dubai for 9 days a month. Sounds like palm out of reach on budget to justify. Please post more.

Tusk 23rd September 2012 03:34 PM

RERA registered
I have 2 rental-related questions:

1) Is it sufficient if the company the agent works for is registered with RERA or should we insist that we work with the individuals listed on the RERA website for that company to handle our rental agreement? Thanks!

2) Also, can someone please tell me if post dating a check insures that the bearer cannot cash it until after the date written on the check? I just want to be certain with the post dating that the checks can't be cashed earlier and potentially bounce.

Thank you!

wandabug 23rd September 2012 04:05 PM

1. You should only deal with a RERA reg agent. Ask to see his registration.
2. A post dated cheque cannot be cashed before the date. Keep copies of the cheques in-case an unscrupulous landlord attempts to alter the date (unlikely but anything is possible in Dubai).

simarm 23rd September 2012 04:42 PM

Good help to all the newbies and expats coming to Dubai. But this posts is mostly about New Dubai and places like discovery garden, gardens, lakes, or emirates living are missing. Places near international city, silicon oasis could be a great help too.Please update more info.

Roadworrier 23rd September 2012 10:48 PM

EXPAT'S PROGRESS: Finding a place in Dubai (Week 2)

This should be a short second week. Our adventure Sunday night was short yet successful. I was able to pick up my chequebook, but decided to wait on finalizing the Palm decision until we saw a few places in the Marina. Believe me, part of the advantage of living in the Marina seems to be having your own parking space, as few or none are available on the street. Once we got through that, we got a chance with another young BH agent to look at several places, all on the west and northwest side of the Marina, all with gyms and pools, and all specifically welcoming pets (with rules posted, of course):

(1) Al Sahab 1 (2 BR). A 5th floor unit mainly viewing the largely under-construction street and light rail to the west (alongside JBR), great closet space, nice kitchen, and almost villa-like layout. This is a relatively old building (one of the first in the Marina outside the original 6) but the Emaar quality is there and it was in not-bad shape. The building is directly across the lagoon from the Dubai Marina Mall. If the unit had been on the other side of the building (Marina side) it would have been a keeper. It was not, even for 120k (2 checks). This had the distinction of being the cheapest place we saw. Even so, it has a nice villa-like layout which makes it seem bigger than so many other 2 BR flats (or even villas) we've seen. But the maid's room is directly across from the bedrooms - very unusual.

(2) Bay Central West (27th flr). The only 3 bedroom we saw, this is a relatively new complex. The bedrooms were small but usable, the living room/dining room was very square looking, the view was fair (mostly of the under-construction East building but some Marina view). This building is from Select Group, and was the only one we saw that did not have a full complement of appliances (it had an oven and fridge, needed dishwasher and washing machine). It was 135k with 4 checks and the owner threw the 13th month for free. I would have still tried to go a little lower if we had settled on this one.

(3) Park Island - Bonaire (17th floor). Brand-spanking new Emaar building in this complex, nice lobby, the access to the residential building was through a separate secure entrance off the Park Island lobby. I've always liked the block itself (Mom's Food and other small stores/restaurants open onto the street west of the Marina, lending this block a finished look which is few and far between on this side of the Marina). This was actually one of the smaller 2 BR we saw (1300+ SF), but it didn't feel that small. Closets were good, not enormous. But the layout was really neat, You walk in and find an interesting pie-shaped DR and LR layout. Each one had separate terraces overlooking the Marina lagoon and the JLT skyline with the Meadows / Springs in the distance. Nice size kitchen with full-appliances hidden between nice cabinetry, although the kitchen pass-through opens onto the living room while the kitchen entrance opens into the dining room. May not be a layout for everybody, but it looked really nice and my wife liked it a lot. The bedrooms are to the right and back of the entrance hall, again giving a more villa-like feel to the place. Each overlooked the Marina lagoon. Bathrooms are very nicely finished with both shower (glass enclosed) and bath. This was a 130k with 2-check place, owner pretty firm on price. Owing to the attractive if unusual layout, Emaar construction, newness, and location of the building (and the very nice pool and gym facility of Park Island), plus the apparent pet friendliness, it threatened to supplant the Palm as the favorite. No maid's room but not something a childless couple with dog really needs.

(4) Trident Grand (forgot the floor, but it was high and the unit was north-facing, providing a spectacular view of the north Marina area, coastline and Palm). This was a budget-busting 145k with 2 checks, but a great layout with huge rooms, Bosch-equipped kitchen (like Palm Marina residence), and lots of little electronic gizmos and controls. But Trident does not have a great reputation for quality. The building on the outside had trim coming off and lettering burned out on the sign logo, the entrance is off an alley-way (requiring one to pass a dumpster / freight dock on the way in). But the apartment almost made up for it until.......I noticed the half-bath in the entrance hall. It had a nice sink...but where was the toilet? Oh there it was, behind the door. One who is about 90 lbs or less could sneak back behind the left-hinged door opening to get to the toilet on the left, but then to get out you would have to open the door again, basically right into your face, and then struggle to go around the door edge to get out. Of course if they hinged the door on the right, they would have had to carve a slot or incision to allow it to clear the right side of the sink. Reminded me of my dumpy Long Island apartment, which I was able to rent solely because the previous tenant died....in a bathroom laid out almost like this! Single-handedly this half-bathroom should have reduced the price by 50k. A great apartment layout ruined by a galactically stupid front half-bathroom design. Oh, and what in the world is a security camera doing on the ceiling above the living room? Actually not a bad idea if you are away, but who knows who is watching? In all, the Trident is a frustrating mess of brilliant and bizarre. And overpriced on top of it, though it seems one is paying for both size and awesome view.

THE DECISION (so far): We have forked over the S.D. and are starting paperwork on the Park Island apartment and ditched the Palm - much of this decision is based on the great location (Marina Walk and Beach Walk are close), newness and attractive layout of both the complex and apartment (even if it is a little smaller than the others we saw), nice view, and pet-tolerant policies. My wife kept having heartburn over the Palm apartment, which was great, but the nebulous pet policy and relative isolation of the Palm were really starting to weigh in. Plus the management issues which were well-publicized and apparently still not 100% resolved, considering the developer is still effectively on life support. Of course when you live on the Palm, one has to drive everywhere, including grocery shopping, likely at the Marina, and nightlife, either Atlantis ($$$) or the Marina. The Trump Hole (which is missing a shopping mall and signature tower) with its lonely monorail station totally killed any semblence of the Palm being a fully-faceted community. So why not just live at the Marina? And so we will.......

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